Shanghai Welcomes ‘Greatest Field Ever’ … in Asia

They are calling it the greatest field ever to be assembled in Asia, and that is without Tiger.

This week’s HSBC Champions event, worth $5 million in total prize money, is the richest tournament in Asia and has attracted the likes of Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh, who between them have won nine majors.

With the post-FedEx Cup excitement having died down, many of the US PGA Tour players can afford to spend some time in Asia, with the Shanghai tournament also attracting some of the best players from the European Tour.

Mickelson, who failed to sustain a challenge at last week’s Singapore Open because of illness, said in an AFP report that he would love to add the Champions title to his collection.

The world number two told the agency:

“I would really like to win an international title of this magnitude, especially as I will be competing against so many great winners from the different tours.”

Tiger Woods has played in two editions of the tournament, finishing runner-up both times but the spotlight this year is firmly on Lefty and his fellow international stars.

Altogether, 10 of the world’s top 20 ranked players are competing at the Sheshan Golf Club in Shanghai.

Still, unlike previous years, there has been mostly silence on the amounts being paid to some of the bigger names to appear in these tournaments.

Asian Tour officials are understood to be not so keen on shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars for marquee golfers when they would prefer their own professionals to enjoy higher profiles.

It’s a fair stance but the fact is that Asian players must start winning more. Indeed, they have achieved a lot with players such as Jeev Milkha Singh, Zhang Lian-wei, Mardan Mamat, Thongchai Jaidee and others winning on the European Tour.

Let’s hope that, in the future, when people talk about “the greatest field ever to be assembled in Asia”, they are also referring to Asian players.

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